Described as "especially glorious... ethereal" by Whole Note, and "a highlight of the concert" by the Boston Musical Intelligencer, the music of Canadian composer Tawnie Olson has been performed by a wide range of ensembles and individual musicians, including the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, the Land's End Ensemble, Duo Fiolûtröniq, Parthenia, New Morse Code, the Wanmu Percussion Trio, the McGill, University of Calgary, and University of Toronto Percussion Ensembles, bassoonists Nadina Mackie Jackson and Rachael Elliott, percussionists Shawn Mativetsky and Ian David Rosenbaum, harpsichordist Katelyn Clark, clarinetists Louise Campbell and Paul Roe, the BBC Singers, the Canadian Chamber Choir, the Toronto Chamber Choir, the choir of Trinity Wall Street, the Norfolk Festival Choir, the Yale Camerata, and NOTUS: Indiana University Contemporary Vocal Ensemble. She has won awards from the SOCAN foundation, the Guelph Chamber Choir/Musica Viva, and Iron Composer, and is a two-time semifinalist in the Sorel Foundation competition. Her composition Scel lem duib, for chamber chorus and harp, was one of three works selected (out of 170 submissions) for publication in the National Collegiate Choral Organization's 2013 choral music series.
Recent projects include No Capacity to Consent, for six vocal solists and chamber ensemble, commissioned by Brian Bartoldus and Third Practice with assistance from New Music USA, Lyonesse, commissioned by Mount Holyoke College and the Women's Philharmonic for the Mt. Holyoke Symphony Orchestra, Tian Hui Ng, conductor, Meadowlark, for marimba and fixed media, composed for Ian David Rosenbaum, American Robin, for soprano and live electronics, composed for Carla Huhtanen, and Sailing to Byzantium, for modified Pierrot ensemble, commissioned by the Thin Edge New Music Collective. In 2010 a recording of her composition Chantez à l'Éternel was released on the Canadian Chamber Choir's CD, "In Good Company," in 2011 Rachael Elliott released a recording of À mon seul désir on the album "Polka the Elk," in 2013 Plainsong was released on Catherine Lee's new album, "Social Sounds," and in 2014 Shawn Mativetsky issued Something to Say as a digital release.
Olson holds a doctorate in music composition from the University of Toronto, a Master of Music degree from the Yale School of Music, an Artist Diploma from the Institute of Sacred Music at Yale, and a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Calgary. She is an adjunct professor of composition at the Hartt School of Music.